Florida vouchers draw lowest achievers

Voucher schools don’t “cherry pick” the best students, writes Jon East on redefinED.  Students who use the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship are among the lowest performers at the low-performing public schools they leave behind, according to a new study (pdf) by Cassandra Hart, a UC-Davis education professor.

Compared to other low-income students at their public schools, voucher students are poorer and earn lower test scores. They’re more likely to be black. They’ve left schools with low scores and high rates of violence. In addition, voucher-using students tend to have few public school choices nearby, but a variety of accessible private schools.

Parents have to go to effort and some expense to qualify for a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, so these are the children of committed parents. However, that commitment hasn’t translated into academic success, Hart finds.

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  1. Come on, this post’s been up for a day and none of the usual suspects have mounted a vigorous response in defense of the status quo? Where are you guys off too? Getting a talking-points download from the NEA?

  2. An unpublished “study”, we’ve been down this road many, many times before.

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      The article has not been published in a peer reviewed journal but it certainly has been made accessible to anyone who wants to read it. Click the link and it takes you there. This is publishing for purposes of copyright law. It is also how 99.9% of studies by government agencies are published. Very, very few of them are ever submitted to peer reviewed journals. Do you have the same reaction to government studies: dismiss them unless they go through peer review?

      • Roger,

        I’m suspicious of ALL studies and statistics, since they are so easy to manipulate.

        I believe Mark Twain had a nice little quote about them you may be familiar with.

        • Roger Sweeny says:

          I feel the same way. Everyone who writes up research has ideas they are trying to push. Often, passing peer review means that the reviewers agree with those ideas.

          • If the reviewer peers don’t like the results, particularly if they challenge the ed world orthodoxy, don’t count on the study getting approved by them. First, shoot the messenger.

  3. OK, so we’ve got Mike pounding the “peer review” line which neatly absolves him from coming to terms with the explicit language of voucher programs which is that they’re aimed at the poor.

    But the study seems to be of the “water is wet” variety since the shocking revelation is that kids that are doing poorly are the kids whose parents are most likely to look to solutions other then the one that isn’t working. C’est incroyable! Opponents of vouchers have to try to sell the idea, without being *too* explicit about it, that it’s the parents of kids who are doing well in district schools that want vouchers. Those “cherries” that we hear so much about.

    Fortunately, Mike’s studied reticence doesn’t even slightly impede those poor parents in trying to do what they perceive to be in the interests of their children.